The Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs
Coconut Oil Health Benefits for Dogs
Coconut oil is an oil extracted from the meat of mature coconuts and is obtained from tropical coconut palms. It is generally sold as a solid rather than a liquid when kept at under 75 °F, just like your average lard or butter. However, unlike butter that can soon turn rancid, coconut oil can last up to 2 years—courtesy of its high levels of saturated fat, which makes it slow to oxidize.
The History Behind the Health Benefits
For thousands of years, inhabitants of the tropics have used coconut oil both for cooking and health. Pacific Islanders who used coconuts regularly were even found to be free of heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses. This oil has had a bad reputation for years, however, due to being high in saturated fat; health organizations have historically warned people about consuming it for years.
In the 1980s and 1990s, it was essentially phased out due to its terrible reputation. It was then replaced by other vegetable oils that turned out to be far more harmful. Nowadays, coconut oil has made a big comeback, and demand is so high that stores cannot keep up.
Isn't It High in Saturated Fat?
So why is it good for dogs? In the 1950s, saturated fat was unjustly accused of causing high cholesterol and heart disease, when in reality, it was trans fat that was the culprit. 90% of coconut oil is saturated fat and at least 50% of this fat is lauric acid, which has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Lauric acid is the same compound found in "mother's milk" and has many disease-fighting qualities.
How Much Coconut Oil Should I Give My Dog?
How much should I give my dog? According to veterinarian Karen Becker (featured in the video below), the dosage of coconut oil for dogs is as follows:
Offer 1 teaspoon for every 10 to 20 pounds of body weight.
Initially, you may want to start with smaller doses to see how your dog responds.
How Can It Help My Dog?
Dogs enjoy many of the same benefits humans get from this wonderful oil—this is because it works from the inside out, and can also be used topically and can be ingested. While not many studies have been formally conducted, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence from owners reporting dramatic changes in their dog's coat and overall health. Let's take a look at some of the many health benefits:
The Benefits of Giving Your Dog Coconut Oil
- Reduces degenerative diseases
- Helps with digestive issues
- Helps prevent bacterial, viral, and fungal infections
- Relieves arthritis
- Promotes thyroid health
- Reduces allergies
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Provides energy
- Reduces dry skin (elbows, noses, and paw pads)
- Reduces "doggie odors"
The Benefits of Applying Coconut Oil Topically to Your Dog
- Promotes the healing of wounds
- Disinfects cuts
- Reduces benign growths, sebaceous cysts, and skin tags
Dr. Karen Becker Discusses Coconut Oil for Dogs
How to Offer It to Your Dog
Dr. Karen Becker (featured in the video above) discusses the health benefits of giving coconut oil to your dog and also suggests using it to hide pills. The good news is that most dogs love to lap it right off the spoon and will just swallow a pill along with it.
What Kind Should I Buy?
Not all coconut oil is created equal. Look for unrefined, virgin coconut oil, made from fresh coconuts and preferably stored in glass jars. Refined coconut, often labeled "RBD," is often the cheap oil you find in the skin and hair-care sections of department stores. This oil is obtained from dried coconut using chemicals and lacks all the good nutrients found in unrefined coconut.
Where Can I Find It?
Most grocery stores carry coconut oil nowadays and most products are produced in the Philippines, Thailand, Brazil, Hawaii, Mexico, Jamaica, Belize, Fiji, and Sri Lanka. It's not a bad idea to invest in higher-quality oil, even though it's a bit more pricey; you'll ultimately get a good return on your investment.
Why This Oil Is a Win-Win
According to Mercola.com, you should have two types of oil in your kitchen: extra-virgin olive oil used raw for salads and coconut oil for frying. Why? As it turns out, coconut oil is a stable oil and resists heat-induced damage, so it is great for cooking. Not to mention, it keeps your heart healthy, keeps cholesterol levels stable, and supports weight loss.
So, not only can your dog reap the benefits, but you can too and in many ways. Lastly, be sure to work with your veterinarian before adjusting your dog's health regimen as always.
For Further Reading
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- How to Make a Dog's Nail Quick Recede
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- Dog Sebaceous Cysts Home Remedies
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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2013 Adrienne Farricelli